Starlink RV and Starlink Residential are two of several plans offered by the satellite internet company. The names are pretty self explanatory – RV is designed for recreational travelers, while Residential is for home internet. But the two service tiers offer different performance, features, and costs.
In this comparison guide, I will break down the differences between Starlink RV and Residential. I will cover the hardware, costs, performance, and features. I will also detail the important ordering and billing differences. Finally, I’ll recommend which service you should get based on your needs.
The hardware kit is identical between RV and Residential. You get the same antenna, router, base, and cable.
Starlink doesn’t offer any RV accessories at this time (except the RV case). I know many RV owners will be looking for a DC power supply or RV specific mounts, but Starlink doesn’t make any of that. You’ll have to look to aftermarket vendors if you need accessories for your rig.
When you order Starlink, you’ll pay a one-time equipment fee and then a monthly service charge.
The equipment fee is $599 for both RV and Residential. This buys you the hardware kit, including the antenna, router, and stand.
Residential: $110 per month (Portability option: +$25/month)
RV: $135 per month
Starlink charges a bit more for RV because it has the Portability feature already built-in. Residential users can travel with their dish just like RV users if they add Portability to their plan. But if you don’t need that feature, Residential is cheaper.
Since the hardware is identical, the performance capability of RV vs Residential is the same. However, Residential users always have bandwidth priority over RV users when they are at their service address. This means that, in times of heavy network traffic in an area, RV performance will be worse than Residential users in the area. Speeds will be more inconsistent and latency could be higher.
Residential users traveling with the Portability feature also experience the same network de-prioritization as RV users. When traveling, performance between RV and Residential will be similar.
Here are the official performance specs:
Residential: 20-100 mbps down, 5-15 mbps up, 25-50 ms latency
RV: 5-50 mbps down, 2-10 mbps up, 25-50 ms latency
Neither plan has a hard data limit, although Residential users have access to 1TB of Priority Access data each month. Priority Access means higher speeds. RV users, and Residential users who go over 1TB of data, are on Basic Data. Basic Data will be slower in times of network congestion.
Starlink RV is great for being able to travel with your Starlink dish, but you can do the same with Residential if you add Portability. So what’s the advantage of RV?
The main feature that RV has compared to Residential is the ability to pause your service. If you only plan to use Starlink during the camping season, you’ll be able to pause your subscription during the winter, and save money when you aren’t actually using it.
With Residential, you can’t pause service, you can only cancel. And since capacity and availability with Residential is limited, cancelling could put you back on the waitlist, unable to start service back up immediately.
One of the big advantages of Residential over RV is the ability to transfer hardware from one person to another. This means there is a used market for Residential hardware. You can buy a used dish and have service transferred to your name. If you decide you don’t need it, you will be able to sell it to someone else later on.
Starlink RV cannot be transferred at this time. If you ever decide you don’t need it anymore, you are stuck with it. This also means you can’t buy used RV units, so you’ll have to pay the full MSRP if you decide to go with RV.
There are several differences between RV and Residential when it comes to ordering, traveling, and availability.
Residential Starlink service is limited at the moment. There is a certain capacity in each area, which slowly expands as more and more satellites are launched. If you try to order Starlink Residential, you may be stuck on the waitlist, waiting to be able to order your hardware kit.
Starlink RV doesn’t have a waitlist. In most areas, you can order it immediately without waiting. Since RV doesn’t technically have a service address, you can choose to ship it just about anywhere.
Both RV and Residential (with Portability add on) can be used at any location with active Starlink coverage. There are some restrictions, such as needing to stay within the same continent as your shipping address. This restriction applies to both plans.
With the RV plan, if you move outside of the shipping address country for more than 2 months, you’ll be required to re-register in that country.
On the Residential plan, if you stay at a secondary location for more than 2 months, you may be required to update your service address for billing purposes. If you stay at the secondary location for an extended period of time, further performance degradation may occur.
Which Starlink should I order?
The best Starlink service for you depends on what you plan to do with it. Are you stuck on the waitlist, desperate for internet? Perhaps you have a main house and a vacation home that you plan to take your Starlink to?
Read each section below. The points highlight the differences between RV and Residential. You’ll know which option is best for you if you agree with the majority of the points listed in that section.
Get Starlink Residential if:
- you primarily need home internet service
- you occasionally or never need to travel with Starlink
- you want the highest level of performance at home
- you will use Starlink year-round
Get Starlink RV if:
- you primarily need recreational/portable/travel internet service
- you can’t wait on the Residential waitlist
- you want the ability to pause monthly service payments
- you don’t mind performance inconsistency
Starlink RV is primarily aimed at travelers who need a portable high speed internet option. Starlink Residential is aimed at customers needing home internet. The hardware is identical, but there are some major differences with features, performance, and availability.
Order RV if you just need portable internet to use at multiple locations. With RV, you’ll be able to pause service when you aren’t using it. Order Residential if you primarily need home internet and it’s available at your address. You can still travel with Residential + Portability, but you’ll get better performance when at home if you have Residential.
I hope this guide has helped you understand the difference between the Starlink plans. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below or contact me.
Did you know you can convert Residential to RV?
I’m thinking of getting Starlink RV until there’s Starlink Residential in my area. My thought was to pay for RV until residential is available and then pause/cancel RV and just switch over to Residential. Would that work?
Thanks for this resource, it’s very helpful!
I’m currently travelling in Mexico, and will be returning home to Canada next summer. I’m thinking about purchasing residential with portability while I’m on the road and using a Mexican address to receive it, and then updating to my Canadian address next summer.
I think this should work, but do you know what would happen if my Canadian address has no availability when I try to switch my residential address? I assume my monthly payments would be paused until I get a “spot” in that area? I understand you can’t typically pause residential service but it seems like Starlink would have to, if you’re moving a residential service to an area that is at capacity.
If your new address didn’t have availability, they wouldn’t allow the transfer. You would either have to keep paying for service in Mexico, or cancel.
Thanks! Won’t they cut us off from having a registered address in mexico after using it outside that cell for a couple months?
Do you happen to know whether, if you have to cancel, you can re-use your existing hardware when your spot comes available?
That’s one thing that has been unclear. The terms of service say pretty clearly that using the dish in Portability/RV mode outside of the country for 2+ months will require an address update, but I’m not sure if that’s automatic or if they work with you to figure out a solution. If you had to get on the waitlist for Canada, you can re-use existing Residential hardware (not RV). There are still some unknowns here as well, because Starlink is supposed to launch a new self-service account transfer option. Might just have to wait and see what kinds of features this new self-service portal allows. Maybe RV to Residential? Switching service countries without contacting support? A lot of moving pieces that need to settle.
I just ordered SL. If i choose to order the portable with it to use when camping, will I be able to use both simultaneously?
Do you mean you ordered Residential, and you also want to order an RV dish? If so, yes, you can use two dishes and two lines of service at one time. If you mean you want to add Portability to your Residential service, you don’t actually get a separate dish. It just enables you to travel around with your Residential dish.
If you have a residential one in an area with coverage but are moving to an area with lower capacity can you move with your equipment or do you have to purchase RV to get service?
You can try to update your service address on the Starlink.com account dashboard. If it let’s you then you are good. If not, I would try to contact support by opening a ticket to see if they could make this transfer happen.
Thank you for this great info! Much appreciated.
I realize that the RV version of the service will much slower than residential and will vary depending on location. Do you think it would have enough speed to be able to stream Hulu/Netflix successfully or just email and browsing the web? I am in an area with Low Capacity according to the map on the Starlink website.
If the functionality can support streaming TV, it would be worth it as I wait for Residential. Since RV can’t convert to residential, I would hate to be stuck with that equipment if all I can do is get email or basic web surfing. Thanks so much!
You’re welcome, thank you for the feedback! RV will still be fast enough to stream TV. Shouldn’t have any issues in that regard.
Thank you for the quick reply! You have a great resource in this website.
Thoughts on purchasing the RV option even if we’re in a low capacity area waiting on residential? Do we have any stats on the speed?
RV service will be much slower, but if you don’t have any better internet alternatives, it can be a good option. Keep in mind, you can’t convert RV to Residential, so you’ll have to buy another Starlink if you wanted Residential when it becomes available.
1) if buy a RV version somewhere in Europe and then move to Canary islands, will it work there ? Canary is closer to Africa continent, but still is Spain (part of europe)
2) Also I know some cases when residential version was bought in Greece (eurasia continent), but still work on carrebean (closer to American continent). Do you know exactly how it work in reality? Thank you in Advance
1. Yes you can use RV within the same continent.
2. You would need to update your address with Residential to use it at a different location. Or enable Portability, which has the same continent restriction as RV.
Is there a specific site that buys/sells used hardware?
Not that I know of, although there are plenty of listings on eBay, Facebook Marketplace, Reddit, etc. Since the used hardware is worthless without an account, it’s really more of a person to person used market.
I’d like to get SL for our RV, but we only travel during the warmer months. But I dont want to ay for two services at the house when were not traveling (and I cant switch SL back to RV, so that out). Can I use SL (RV) at home during our non-travel periods? (Basicaly SL/RV, full time, no matter what we’re doing. I know I can pause SL, but i cant really pause ATT)
Yes, you can use RV at your home when not traveling. The downside is that it will be slower than the Residential service would be at your home. Alternatively, you can buy Residential and add on the Portability option. Portability is like RV, which allows you to travel around and use it while traveling. But when you are at home, you’re a Residential customer. The downside to Portability is that you can’t pause service like you can with RV if you didn’t need Starlink for a few months.
Thanks, that sounds like like the res/portability may work. We’re only in one location at any one time.
I am going to be living in a RV but not be travelling. I will be stationary. Am I able to qualify for residential? I like to online game so I want the fastest version possible.
Yes, you can get Residential in a stationary RV. When you go to the order page on Starlink.com, start typing in a nearby address, and then select “Set location on map” to pinpoint the exact location of your RV on the map. Alternatively, you can use plus codes from Google to input your exact location on the order form.
If I order the star link rv while I wait for the residentials to come to my areas, will I be able to just switch the type of service with the equipment I already have or will I have to buy all new equipment for the residential service? as much as we NEED the good internet where we are (bfe) I don’t want to spend $600 on the rv equipment for them to possibly expand their residential service to us within the next couple months.
RV cannot be converted to Residential.